Temporary Transplant

(Question)

I wish to transplant the hostas from the front of the porch, while it’s renovated.
I wonder generally how to do this?
I’m not sure when the work will begin, but I suppose it’s better now that later. However, these have been here for many years.
Should I test the depth of one, since there are so many?
Will I be able to put them into a wooden box container, and keep them aside in the back safely?

They’re only an inch high, and I couldn’t compress them, for some reason.

(Answer)

Moving your hostas from the front of the porch before your renovations start is a good idea and early Spring is an ideal time to do this as the plants are in their dormant period. It will also provide you with an opportunity to divide them as well, to increase your stock!

When you dig them up try to avoid disturbing the root ball as much as you can. Loosen the surrounding soil, levering them up gently with a garden fork. It is important that theu do not dry out so have your container ready to immediately accommodate them in this new home. If you cannot immediately relocate them then dip the plants briefly in water and keep them in a sealed plastic bag in a cool, shady place until you are ready to transplant them. When replanting make sure that the roots are well spread out in the planting hole and the plant firmed in. Water newly transplanted stock thoroughly

If you want to divide any of these hostas this is the time to do so. Shake off as much loose soil from the roots as possible and remove any dead leaves and stems to make it easier to see the best points for division. Hostas have tough fibrous roots and it may sound brutal but you divide the clump with a spade. Include several buds on each division and trim any damaged parts with a knife. Hostas that have looser, fleshy rootstocks may be separated by pulling the clump apart by hand or prying them apart with back-to back forks. Each division should have at least one eye (shoot). After dividing dust any cut surfaces with an appropriate fungicide (available from garden centres and nurseries) and replant as soon as possible.

As far as caring for them in their temporary container home aim to have your container replicate the following conditions: locate in light shade to partial shade, a spot that has morning sun is preferable to one that has afternoon sun. The soil should be fertile, moist and well drained (so make sure you have drainage holes and the container is deep enough to accommodate the roots). Any good potting soil from a garden centre or nursery will be the choice of growing medium. During hot summers containers dry out quicker than garden beds. Athough hostas are fairly drought tolerant a good layer of mulch on top of your container will help preserve moisture for them. Just keep an eye on the container for slugs, snails and chewing insects such as black vine weevils (remove these if you see them). With this criteria met your hosta supply should survive to grace your newly renovated porch once again and you may even have several divisions to share with friends and neighbours!

Good luck with the renovations.